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The madness of love.

The Case for Falling in Love is a self-help book,despite Mari Ruti’s best attempts to claim it’s not.  Ruti spends the first quarter of the book presenting her claim that this is something other than a self-help book,but while it’s occasionally more interesting and insightful than those that might share its table of dating guides in your local bookstore,it still belongs there.

The first half of the book uses cultural criticism and gender studies to argue against old-fashioned self-help guides that polarize gender roles – there’s definitely some value in that argument. The second half of the book helps the reader find opportunity in past loves that may have gone wrong. Throughout the book,the main thesis seems to be:Ditch the dating myths and be yourself. The book closes with a list of “12 anti-rules” (i.e.,“rules”) to help the reader stay true to herself when faced with romantic adversity. (Really,this isn’t supposed to be a self-help book?)

Throughout the book,Ruti touts her Ivy League credentials,which are valid,but this reader was wishing for more smartness and sass,and less pandering to,well,the reader seeking self-help advice. The highlight of The Case for Falling in Love is Ruti’s treatment of Gossip Girl and other smutty television shows as a teaching tool for analyzing relationships – this section was very fun and informative.

If you are looking for a book to pick you up after a break-up,to encourage you to break a bad dating pattern,or to give you strength to get out there and find Mr. Right,this could be the book for you.

About the Author: Mari Ruti holds degrees from Brown (B.A.),the University of Paris (DEA),and Harvard (M.A. Sociology;M.A. Comparative Literature;Ph.D. Comparative Literature). She is currently Associate Professor of Critical Theory at the University of Toronto.